A Guide to Critical Thinking and Writing
Recovering Argument is a textbook or handbook that sounds a revolutionary call to teachers and students of rhetoric, asking, as it implicitly does, for a return to reason as the basis of all argument. The implied purpose of the book is to recover argument from its current status among teachers, who often view composition as a merely personal exercise, with an emphasis upon "invention" (now the most important part of so-called "process" writing). It attempts to provide a framework for understanding discourse and its position and function in a democratic society.
In addition to calling for a return to reason, Recovering Argument suggests new models and approaches to the teaching of writing. A model of communication (a "humanistic" model) is offered as a replacement for the widely-accepted analogy that would turn writer and audience into radio transmitters and receivers. A new treatment of "audience" clearly and succinctly demonstrates that the writer does not need to be a slave to demographics, but rather that the writer of any argument must search for truth, however unpalatable that truth may be to the audience. A much-needed review of the differences between spoken and written language is provided herein, and the reader is shown the placement of argument within the Western rhetorical tradition and the importance of the continuing dialogue that began with Plato and Aristotle.
This brief text could be used in a college or upper-level high school course in rhetoric or writing as a supplementary text or as the core text in addition to supplementary readings. The freshness of the material is sure to stimulate thought and discussion. The examples of argument in the appendix provide a foundation for individual response and for further study.
About the Author
Richard E. Mezo received his Ph.D. in English from the University of North Dakota in 1978 and completed a study in Education at Western Washington University in 1988. He has taught at colleges and universities in the U.S. and overseas. He is the author of several books, articles, essays, poems, book reviews, and short stories. He has most recently written entries for the